Friday, November 15, 2019

Next Monday at McGill: Karie Davis-Nozemack, Applying Sustainability to Tax

Continuing the McGill tax policy colloquium next week will be Karie Davis-Nozemack, Associate Professor of Law & Ethics at Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business. Prof. Davis-Nozemack will discuss her forthcoming article with Kathryn Kisska-Schulze, which considers whether and how tax policy can support the quality of life, social justice and cohesion, diversity, democratic rights, broad participation, and social capital and individual capabilities that societies wish to sustain. The paper will be published in the Florida Tax Review and it follows Prof. Davis-Nozemack's earlier work with Robert Bird, Tax Avoidance as a Sustainability Problem, 151(4) J. Bus. Ethics 1009 (Sept. 2018), which examined tax avoidance in the context of corporate sustainability practices.

As always, the colloquium is supported by a grant made by the law firm Spiegel Sohmer, for the purpose of fostering an academic community in which learning and scholarship may flourish. The land on which we gather is the traditional territory of the Kanien’keha:ka (Mohawk), a place which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst nations.

The talk and discussion will take place from 3-5 pm in New Chancellor Day Hall room 316; all are welcome to attend. The complete colloquium schedule is below and here.


Sunday, November 10, 2019

Tomorrow at McGill: Karen Brown on Tax Policy for Sustainable Growth

Continuing the tax policy colloquium tomorrow will be Karen Brown, Theodore Rinehart Professor of Business Law at the George Washington University Law School, whose working paper is entitled Tax Policy: A Tool to Support Sustainable Growth. The paper examines the World Bank's "Human-Centered Business Model" which was developed by Marco Nicoli in a 2017 paper entitled
"The Human-Centered Business Model (HCBM): A Holistic Approach to a New Model for Doing Business." As Prof. Brown describes it, this project:
details a “common set of corporate goals covering economic, social, and environmental sustainability”  to create a coherent “business ecosystem.” Of a six-pronged approach , the fourth, known as the Fiscal Pillar, is designed to offer governments a menu of options allowing them to implement tax regimes that support efficiency and growth in their economies while providing incentives for enterprises to operate with attention to core principles as well as the considerable costs of doing business in a manner that disserves sustainable goals.
The paper examines the relevant goals and analyzes the prospects for achieving them using tax incentives (which the paper adjudges non-optimal) and varying tax burdens for sustainable and non sustainable business models (which the paper broadly endorses).

The paper notes that Marco Nicoli retired from the World Bank in 2018 but guides the HCBM project in his role as Advisor to the OECD’s Centre for Development in Paris. Surprising, then, that nowhere in the OECD's work on BEPS or its urgent progress on tax challenges arising from the digital economy is there any mention of coordination of these efforts with the sustainable development goals whether through the HCBM project or through the broader financing for development work on mobilizing domestic revenues. A missed opportunity since, as Prof. Brown notes:
Corporate taxes may be inappropriately low when measured by the value of operating in a vibrant and stable global economy sustained by adequate government expenditures.  Treating taxes as costs to shift onto others enables these companies to ignore the important role of taxation in the modern world. Yet a corporate goal of minimizing costs and maximizing profit above all else may operate to impair the effectiveness of governments in supplying the infrastructure and other goods and services necessary to support the basic needs of their residents. 
As editor and contributing author to "Taxation and Development - A Comparative Study", Prof. Brown is uniquely situated to talk about the incorporation (or lack thereof) of sustainability into taxation rubrics, and vice versa. It promises to be a good discussion.

As always, the colloquium is supported by a grant made by the law firm Spiegel Sohmer, for the purpose of fostering an academic community in which learning and scholarship may flourish. The land on which we gather is the traditional territory of the Kanien’keha:ka (Mohawk), a place which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst nations.

The talk and discussion will take place from 3-5 pm in New Chancellor Day Hall room 316; all are welcome to attend. The complete colloquium schedule is below and here.


Sunday, November 3, 2019

Tomorrow at McGill: Magalhaes on a New Global Tax Deal for the Digital Age

Tomorrow the McGill tax policy colloquium continues with a presentation by Tarcisio Magalhaes, who will discuss our co-authored paper, forthcoming in the Canadian Tax Journal. Here is the abstract:
The OECD is currently in the midst of a project intended to tackle the tax challenges arising from the digitalization of the economy. As laid out in Pillar 1 of its program of work released in May 2019, the goal seemed broadly to develop consensus on a new taxing right, to allow countries to tax multinationals even in the absence of traditional physical presence. Upon inspection, the plan seems to be about rebalancing taxing rights mostly among the relatively affluent OECD member states plus a few other key non-OECD states. Viewed from this perspective, the urgent effort to forge a new global tax deal for the digital age is destined to forestall a much-needed discussion on the broader distributive implications of the current global tax deal. This Article therefore critically examines the emerging tax bargain. Part I begins with a brief survey of some of the main factors that prompted the OECD to turn its attention to this topic. Part II considers the origins and development of nexus in the international tax regime, showing why this concept is amenable to broad expansion. Part III examines the range of reforms currently under consideration, arguing that the framing on digitalization misses a necessary connection to other pressing international policy programs that are also under development, most notably a global commitment to building institutions that support sustainable economic development. The Article concludes with a prediction that on its current trajectory, the program of work on digitalization is likely to produce a new global tax deal that looks much like the old global tax deal, with a relatively modest redistribution of taxing rights among a few key states, thus missing an opportunity for meaningful reform. 
The colloquium is supported by a grant made by the law firm Spiegel Sohmer, for the purpose of fostering an academic community in which learning and scholarship may flourish. The land on which we gather is the traditional territory of the Kanien’keha:ka (Mohawk), a place which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst nations. The talk will take place in New Chancellor Day Hall room 316; all are welcome to attend. This fall the Colloquium theme is Designing Sustainable Tax Systems. The complete colloquium schedule is below and here.



[revised 4 Nov to include link to newly posted draft paper]